long time lurker, first time poster, yada yada to the point. Some time ago I written a homebrew class for D&D 5e called Death's Incarnate. I would like to ask for any opinions and critique about this class' features and abilities, their overall balance and applicability to different types of campaigns. I would also be grateful if you could say some sentences about my three foundations for this class:

  1. Diversity in subclasses - I wanted to make something like bard/monk subclasses, where your choice of subclass would greatly influence your playstyle and/or roleplay aspect.
  2. Collection of skills - Class should offer different and unique abilities rarely found in original D&D classes, keeping in mind ambiguity of origin and overall hard-to-die aspect, without "normal" spellcasting.
  3. Emphasis on versatility - Class should have skills specialized in some tasks, working better in one situation that in the other, but majority of skills should be able to be used in broad spectrum.

To preface, I did run one campaign for a player for this class for a while to test, and overall it was "good", if outright boring till level 3. I would also want to hear basic explanations for your reviews, like comparing to existing classes in one term or another. And sorry in advance for my English. If anyone would like to read for a class description overview, here it is: Death's Incarnate. Thank you in advance for your time.

Class Features

As a Death's incarnate you gain the following class features.

Hit Points Hit Dice: 1d10 per Death's incarnate level Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution modifier Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per Death's incarnate level after 1st


Armor: Light, medium and heavy armor(Death's incarnate will not wear armor not made mostly from metal)

Weapons: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons

Tools: One type of artisan’s tools or one instrument

Saving Throws: Constitution, Wisdom

Skills: Choose two from animal handling, Athletics, Acrobatics, Nature, Religion, Arcana

Equipment You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • one simple or martial weapon (a)
  • Ring mail or (b) Chain mail (a)
  • Scholar's Pack or (b) Priest's Pack
  • If you are using starting wealth, you have 3d4*10gp in funds.

Table: The Death's incarnate

Level PB Features
1st +2 Visage of The End, One of the Numbers
2nd +2 Avatar feature
3rd +2 Omen of Undeath
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra attack
6th +3 Avatar feature
7th +3 Steps between the strings, One of the Numbers improvement
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Avatar feature
10th +4 Magic Conduit
11th +4 Broken body
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Full Armament
14th +5 Avatar feature
15th +5 Avatar feature, One of the Numbers improvement
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Call of the Other Side
18th +6 Avatar feature, Steps between the strings inprovement
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Power Beyond Reason

Visage of The End

Your ungraspable nature needs a catalyst to manifest outside of your own mind, and takes form of the most possible decayed form your race can become before crumbling to nothingness. Mostly it is a skull shaped face cover, but others(like ash for demons, so face covered in metallic powder etc.) are possible. It is always a face cover, sometimes extending to wrap the whole head.

You can cover your face with your visage in any circumstances, materializing it from thin air, no action required. If someone knows you or your face you will be recognized instantly. Your visage cannot be removed from you if you do not want that, and you cannot benefit from any of this class' features other than One of the Numbers if mask is not on your face.

One of the Numbers

Even though impossible to describe why, every Death's incarnate has a number. That number is always a prime number, and does not mean nothing, not order of age, power or knowledge. Yet every death incarnate present on any given plane of existence knows about all the others that are there. Pick your number, but Second is already taken. You know number, name and one-sentence description of any Death's incarnate present on plane of existence you are on, as well as you magically learn about any who come to that plane of existence, and any other know about you.

Additionally, you can call into the void to ask for knowledge, and others like you can answer. As an action, you can add your proficiency modifier to any skill check, using wisdom of others. You can use this feature number of times equal to your proficiency modifier. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.


At 2nd level, you chose an Avatar type. Choose between avatars of Creation, Destruction, Life, Knowledge and Neverending Cycle, all detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 2nd and again at 6th,9th,14th,15th and 18th level.

Omen of Undeath

Beginning at 3rd level, you start showing signs of your unintelligible nature. You do not age beyond point you deem right, and are immune to spells and effects that modify age. You also does not need food or water to survive.

Additionally, twisting nature of time in a moment of pain you can drag your future vitality to you. When taking damage you can use your reaction to spend one Hit Die to heal yourself. Roll the die, add your Constitution modifier, and regain a number of hit points equal to the total (minimum of 1). You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Ability Score Improvement When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra attack

Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Steps between the strings

You learned to walk between the most elementary parts of reality. Starting from 7th level, if you walk out of clear vision of all observing creatures(for example walking behind a pillar, jumping through smoke etc.) you can emerge in another unobserved place within 120 feet. You must know the place you walk to. When you use this feature two times you cannot do so until you finish a long rest, regaining all expended uses.

From 18th level you can use this ability to walk to other planes of existence.

One of the Numbers improvement

You are starting to accommodate to the usage of strings. Starting from 7th level you can call into the void to contact other death incarnates, as in a manner of a friendly chatter. Your call can be left unanswered however, everyone has a free will. You can also use this ability to send specific dreams to others. You do not know what your target does in this dream, you only place them in a situation of your choosing.

Magic Conduit

Weave flows through your empty husk of a body like no other. Starting from 10th level, as an reaction, provided you can see casting of a spell, you can contest caster's of this spell spellcasting ability versus your ability (your proficiency modifier + your Constitution modifier). On a success, you force that spell casted to target you instead. If spell has an area of effect, center of this area is your person. If this spell requires concentration you are concentrating on that spell. When you use this feature you cannot do so until you finish a long rest.

You gain another use of this ability at level 15th.

Broken body

Some things, once broken, are harder to be completely destroyed. Starting from 11th level, when you are below half your hit points maximum you reduce any incoming damage for amount equal to your constitution modifier(minimum of 1).

Full Armament

Beginning at 13th level, you can doff and don your armor as part of covering and uncovering your face with your visage. Your armor, alongside with your weapon and all your belongings, provided that they do not encumber you, vanish and reappear on you and like your visage it cannot be forcibly taken away from you.

One of the Numbers improvement

You flow in strings, you are one of many. Starting at 15th level you can call to the void to contact other incarnates. You can ask them for particular item or resource, or ask a question regarding some inforamtion. It is almost certain you will find someone willing to share with you what you are searching for, but anyone you ask will state his price, in gold, item, knowledge or favour. And sometimes someone can ask you for something, and you always need to state your price, and uphold your bargain, as anyone else needs to. You can expend one of your step between the strings feature to move your price away, and reclaim what you wanted.

Call of the Other Side

You personify the neverending cycle beyond comprehension. All undeath instinctively feel your power affecting them. Starting from 17th level, at the start of its turn, any undead creature of your choice in 30 feet radius from you take necrotic damage equal to your level in this class. This damage cannot be reduced or prevented in any way. Beings which died and were brought back to life can be affected by this feature.

Power Beyond Reason

At 20th level your strength echoes through creation, drawing attention of Second. He visits you and bestows to you knowledge about your very being, giving you just enough to spit in face of even the most powerful. Choose one spell of 9th level from any spell list. You can now cast this spell, ignoring cost of material components of it. Constitution is your spellcasting ability for this spell. Once used, you cannot cast it again until 7 days have passed.

Avatar (Subclass)

Avatar of Knowledge

For you Death is wisdom. In its infinite compexcity dwells all sorts of lore, just waiting to be unraveled.

Eternal Student At 2nd level you can choose a two skills in which you do not have proficiency. You gain proficiency in those skills.

Vital Knowledge Your knowledge sometimes acts on its own, just like independent being trying to shield you from harm. Starting at 6th level you can add your wisdom modifier to the saving throws you are not proficient with.

Personification Your wisdom does not like when you ignore it like some inanimate thing. When making long rest roll dice to randomly determine one of your skills in which you are proficient. Until next long rest you have expertise in that skill.

Laws of Defiliance Your being overflows with eldrith wisdom, and sometimes it shows. Starting at 14th level when you are suspected to wisdom saving throw and fail roll d6. On 4 or higher you are unaffected by the spell.

Answer to Questions You understend one thing, that you do not know so much after all. Starting at 15th level you can reroll a failed skill check in which you are proficient, and you need to take the second result. If you have expertise in skill, you instead succed, no roll required. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your wisdom modifier (minimum of one). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Eyes of Death Your eyes change their colour to one you desire, to accomodate unreal power they hold. At 18th level you gain truesight out to a range of 30 feet. Additionally, you can read and write all languages that can be used to communicate, as long as they are possible to read, and know meaning of any rune or symbol.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Someone_Evil's guidance on full class homebrew review suggests posting one subclass at a time. I highly recommend trimming this one down to a single subclass for one question, then if that one looks good (i.e. no glaring issues with the base class), posting the other four subclasses as their own individual question. I really think you're more likely to get good answer that way. I feel like I might could handle addressing one subclass, but I'm not interested in handling five. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 20:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ "If someone knows you or your face you will be recognized instantly." ie, it's impossible to disguise yourself while you have your visage on? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 20:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov, didn't knew about that one, I will edit that as this sounds right. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cezaryx
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden, theoretically, you can cover even your visage with, for example, helmet. Also this works only 'you'->'you with visage' way, so you can do things with visage on, then not worry for identification. Idea was that you radiate your inner self when wearing this mask and using your abilities. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cezaryx
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ So - one pertinent question (which I am not qualified to answer) - for Answer ot Questions, how badly can you break the system at level 15 if you can choose to autosucceed a few skill tests per day of arbitrary difficulty? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


A Variety of Suggestions

I have a couple remarks about the starting equipment and saving throws.


For one, I see where you're coming from offering both ring mail and chain mail since chain mail has a strength requirement, but chain mail is just a straight upgrade to ring mail provided you have the strength to wear it. If you don't, then odds are you have at least a positive dex score, so scale armor would be a much more appropriate starting armor, modeling from the cleric starting armor.

Secondly, even if they are supposed to be a melee focused class, even barbarians and paladins are given throwing weapon options for a ranged capacity in combat, so think about offering some handaxes or javelins. I would offer them as a choice to the one weapon they get and offer another choice of weapon, or just give some for free.

And the last point about equipment is an apparent oversight. It seems like a class with heavy armor proficiency should have access to shields, which need to be included in the section about armor proficiency. It could of course be a design choice, but I would strongly suggest offering the option, and further including it in your choice of starting equipment.

Saving Throws

Concerning saving throws, having both constitution and wisdom as saves goes against the convention of having a "common" saving throw (dex, con, wis) and a less common saving throw (str, int, cha). Every other class follows this convention, so you should pick one of the two to change into a less common saving throw. Perhaps if you feel they are both thematic you could offer a class feature like the rogue's "Slippery Mind," but keep in mind that's a 15th level feature. Monks are an exception with their "Diamond Soul," giving them proficiency in all saves at 14th level, but I would be very careful handing that out.


Another miscellaneous comment on skills: it seems like you really are going for a utility based class that's about understanding things and having an eye for detail. I would suggest offering perception and insight as options for class skills, maybe even offer a choice of 3 like rangers.

Class Features

Next, I can offer some editing to the semantics of some of your features. In "Step between the strings" you can replace "unobserved area" by saying "total cover or heavy obscurement." Note this naturally includes invisibility.

The main class features seem fine, but I also have some remarks on the subclass features.

On "Laws of Defiliance [sic]" (which I think should read "Laws of Defiance") it seems that the ability applies to all wisdom saves, but it actually does not affect anything other than a spell. I think it might be ok if it only affects spells, so you should change the wording to say "subjected to a wisdom save by a spell or other magical effect." Any wisdom save at all would be pretty strong, as that includes fear and a host of other abilities.

"Eyes of Death" is probably too strong. An always on truesight even for an 18th level ability should probably require activating with an action, perhaps lasting for an hour, and maybe allow con modifier uses per long rest.


Overall, it seems like a really creative class. I would maybe write a little "quick build" section like other classes on how to distribute stats i.e. "You should pick strength or dexterity as your highest stat, constitution as your second highest stat, lastly wisdom."


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